The postgame scrum after the White Sox's 5-4 loss to Detroit on Tuesday took a fascinating turn when Jake Peavy's endurance became the top subject:
Entering the game, opponents had a .457 batting average (21-for-46) against Peavy from pitch 76 to 100. In the sixth inning of games this season, Peavy entered with a 9.82 ERA.
On Monday he tripped the 75-pitch marker in the fifth inning, finishing the night with 111 pitches over six innings. [...]
At the surface, the logical move would seem to be that Peavy is removed after 75 pitches. But should the White Sox’s decision be so black and white? Peavy made quick work of the fifth inning but got into trouble quickly in the sixth.
"Right now I worry about innings more than pitches," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now I don’t think is the time for us to worry about guys throwing too many pitches because of the way we use the bullpen."
Brett Ballantini was most incredulous in response:
Ozzie's thought that he goes by "innings" rather than "pitches" is one of the most inscrutable, enigmatic answers he's ever given.
Ozzie: "Don’t kno how many pitches he had when I took him out, but when they scored 3 runs he went thru a lot of probs" (ergo, REMOVE HIM!)
It's awesome to see strategy and decisions scrutinized, but I'm not thinking this one is such a big deal. Endurance is a problem for Peavy, but it's not a unique one. Earlier in this season, John Danks also hit a wall in the sixth inning, or after 75 pitches, but he has gotten past it, completing seven innings in his last four starts.
In this case, Peavy started the sixth at 83 pitches after an easy fifth, and that usually isn't start-warming-a-pitcher territory. I'd probably call the official start-the-bullpen when the first two runners reached, and that was only six pitches in. By the 11th pitch, the Tigers had four singles, two runs, and runners on the corners with nobody out.
Peavy got ambushed. He lost the lead on his own accord.
Where I scratch my head is his final pitch count. Seventeen pitches took place after Peavy lost the lead, including a four-pitch intentional walk of Alex Avila when Will Ohman was ready in the bullpen, which extended his night by eight pitches, well after his slider lost his bite.
It's one thing to try to work Peavy through the 75-pitch barrier, especially if the Sox are going to trade one of their six starters and need Peavy to deliver. It's another to throw him over the 110-pitch barrier, especially when he has yet to successfully bounce back from that big of a night this season.
And speaking of trading a starter, Alejandro De Aza was lifted from Tuesday night's Charlotte game shortly after it started, which fired up the rumor mill. The only thing to come of it was one that showed up in my Twitter feed: Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to Toronto for Jason Frasor and a minor leaguer.
I didn't pay much heed until MelidoPerez (SSSer, not the actual guy, although maybe it is!) pointed out that it originated from the whitesox.com message board, and the guy behind it nailed the first Peavy trade a day before it happened, and supposedly the Orlando Cabrera-Jon Garland trade before that.
Given that there's a little bit of a track record, what's separating it from the Colby Rasmus rumor? That one had the vaunted "several sources familiar with the situation;" this one only has one, but combine it with a corresponding mystery move, earlier interest in a right-handed reliever and confusing trades from previous summers, and there's at least a possibility of fire behind this smoke.
Unlike the Rasmus rumor, I'm not going to write 1,000 words about it yet, because I don't have a larger point that's independent of the specific not-yet-Sox. But my first impression is that this deal feels like getting a pair of slacks on Christmas morning. On some level, I might need them, but not now, and not for this. Heeeey. Slaaaacks. Thaaaaaanks.